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Remittance drops in February

FE Report | Published: March 02, 2018 09:39:21 | Updated: March 03, 2018 20:25:56


The flow of inward remittance dropped by nearly 17 per cent in February despite maintaining an upward trend in the first eight months of the current fiscal year (FY), officials said.

Bangladeshi nationals working abroad sent US$1.15 billion in February. The amount was lower by $230.79 million than the remittance sent in the previous month.

In January 2018, the remittance was $1.38 billion. It was $940.75 million in February 2017, according to the central bank's latest statistics, released Thursday.

"The inflow of remittance dropped in the month of February mainly due to fewer working days," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE.

He said the flow of overall inward remittance is maintaining an upward trend continuously mainly due to the depreciation of local currency against the US dollar.

The inflow of overall remittance jumped by more than 16.50 per cent or $1.34 billion to $9.46 billion during the July-February period of the FY 2017-18 from $8.12 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.

"The central bank as well as the government is now working to increase the flow of inward remittance from different parts of the world," another BB official said without elaborating.

Currently, 29 exchange houses are operating across the globe along with 1,198 drawing arrangements to boost the remittance inflow, according to the BB officials.

Senior bankers, however, said the flow of inward remittances increased significantly in the first eight month of this fiscal following higher exchange rate of the US dollar against the local currency along with strengthening monitoring by the BB to curb illegal fund transfers.

The local currency depreciated by around Tk 2.50 against the US dollar during the period under review for purchasing the greenback from remitters, official known as TT (Telegraphic Transfer) clean, according to a senior executive of a leading private commercial bank.

"Such depreciation of the Bangladesh Taka (BDT) against the US dollar has contributed to push up the inflow of inward remittances in the recent months," the senior banker explained.

The central bank earlier took a series of measures to encourage the expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned money through the formal banking channel, instead of the illegal "hundi" system to help boost the country's foreign exchange reserve.

Currently, most banks are trying to increase the flow of inward remittance from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.

"We're trying to increase the inflow of remittance through official channel continuously to meet our internal foreign exchange demand," another private banker told the FE.

He said most of the banks are now trying to establish new contacts with overseas exchange houses so that the migrant workers can find it easier to send money back home.

All PCBs received $ 840.59 million as remittance in February last while the state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs) received $284.85 million, foreign commercial banks (FCBs) $ 12.60 million, and specialised banks $10.96 million.

siddique.islam@gmail.com

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